About this team

Data flows in Biomodd could involve harvesting data about various aspects of the installation (e.g., water temperature, air temperature, humidity, light levels) and then turning into something interesting and/or useful, such as:
  • Assessing the health of the installation and broadcasting it online (through a set of dynamic, interactive images, or textually like the plant that blogs about itself, etc.) This would be an example of data visualization, which is a way of visually telling a story based on numerical data.
  • Using the data to control the actions of a robot arm that could be installed in the installation (e.g., if there's not enough water in the system, the robot arm dumps some from a container)
  • Using the data to change properties in the game, like colours and textures.
Data could also flow in other directions. For example, values harvested in the game could determine the light levels in the installation.

You can design and build the data visualization/data utilization components of Biomodd. 
  1. You can actually help build the data visualization tools with Processing (a programming language) and a hardware sensing system based on Arduino boards. 
  2. Contribute to the section on data visualization on the Biomodd Do-It-Yourself manual
Even if we don't have Biomodd data to work with right now, we can use real-time plant data shared with us by FoAM from Belgium. This data is in the form of an RSS feed: http://www.pachube.com/feeds/1951. Learn more about it from http://lib.fo.am/plant_sensing.

Getting started on this option

  1. In Ben Fry's book, he points out that the first thing that needs to happen in a data visualization activity is to figure out a question that the data viz is supposed to answer. What is it that we want to know?
  2. Visit the Data Flows and Visualization "wiki" on the Biomodd website. Let's consolidate all ideas on this page. 
  3. Request for edit access to the Biomodd site so you can edit this page. We can create subpages if needed.
  4. Start learning about visualization
    1. View this Powerpoint-style presentation to get an overview of data visualization. You can skip the section on visualizing Noli Me Tangere.
    2. Learn about Processing programming language: www.processing.org
    3. Download the Processing programming environment: www.processing.org/download
    4. Learn how to use Processing: www.processing.org/learning
      (I also have two very good and thorough books that I can lend you: one on Processing, and one on visualizing data using Processing. Email me for details.)
    5. Learn about Arduino boards: www.arduino.cc
    6. Various resources on data visualization: www.delicious.com/dmaranan/visualization
    7. Pachube: the RSS site for environmental data: www.pachube.com
  5. When sending out an email to the Biomodd team list that is specifically about data flows and visualization, start your subject with [DATAVIZ]. This helps us keep track of all data flows/viz email threads.